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This unintentionally obscene amuse-bouche was served during our recent dinner at L’Espalier, my favorite restaurant in Boston. We started with martinis (lemon twist for the Long-Suffering Husband, olives for me) and then the bodacious little bites appeared at the table:

amusebouche

Gives new meaning to the term AMUSE-bouche. These were rhubarb-flavored meringues, served with a mango-ginger shot.

I think they ought to build on this promising beginning and come up with an entire meal of amusements, a culinary comedy menu. An all-sex menu would also be good. I wrote in one of my stories about an aphrodisiac menu, but I like the comedy idea even better. They might try something along the lines of Brock Davis’ food art:

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The problem is that, clever as they are, these culinary jokes are mainly visual. They don’t inspire one’s appetite. So it’s a challenge for any aspiring chef out there… but look what arrived next!

amusebouche2

Cheese shortbread, smoked gouda éclair, potato bonbon with pretzel crust and spinach financier.

I loved the wit of that second amuse-bouche, a variety of sweet pastries refashioned as miniature savories. They were exquisite. The most delicious dish was this soup of yellow tomato, pattypan squash and other summer vegetables. A triumph!

soup

Served with 2010 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs–utterly delicious and a favorite of mine in the sparkling category.

Next up, the salad of lettuces with compressed melon and wild rose, garnished with a lime-ginger sorbet. The little standing cylinder thing must be all the rage now. I’ve seen it done back home with hearts of palm.

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Paired with 2012 Kerpen Spätlese Riesling from the Mosel, a good match for the melon.

Next was a coddled egg dish with chard and pine nuts, which I forgot to photograph. The alcohol was taking effect! I have recorded that it was served with Beaujolais, an interesting pairing for an egg dish. Then, a truffled risotto with asparagus, watercress and roasted tomato. All local produce, of course!

risotto

Served with a 2009 Barbaresco which I found over-oxidized and raisiny.

An excellent cheese plate containing a Loire chevrot from Poitou, Robiola a due latti from Piedmont, Barndance farmyard cheese from Massachusetts, tangy “Timberdoodle” semi-hard cheese from Vermont, and Point Reyes Bay Blue. The cheese was a highlight of the meal, but by this time I was dangerously full and very drunk.

cheese course

Yummy! The wine was a 2011 Barbera d’Alba.

Finally the dessert which also went unphotographed (sorry Simone!). I remember nothing of it, but according to the menu it was brandy pound cake with fresh peaches and lemon-thyme ice cream. Served with a 2007 Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, which I do remember quite distinctly.

They sent us on our way with a dainty macaron in cellophane to enjoy later. If you’re ever in Boston, this is a great place for a special occasion meal. I just hope you don’t end up with the hand-kissing waiter…